The earliest mention of Cranfield is found in 969, when among the boundaries of Aspley mention is made of ‘Cranfeldinga dic’. The Cartulary of Ramsey Abbey records the Alwyn the Black, who died in 998, gave the manor to the Abbot and convent of Ramsey.

This grant was confirmed by Edward the Confessor in 1060, by William the 1( William the Conqueror) in 1078, and by Pope Alexander Ш in 1178. The later grant speaks of the church, which is not mentioned in the two earlier.

Abbot Aldwin, the last Saxon abbot, granted a life estate in Cranfield to Ralph Earl of Hereford.

The Domesday Survey states that the Abbot of Ramsey held the manor; the it was assessed at 10 hides worth £9.

In the 11th century two abbots are mentioned as having alienated land here belonging to the abbey, giving it to their relations.

On retirement of Abbot Robert de Redinges in 1206 King John, with the assent of the abbey, granted the manor to him for life. He seems to have been involved in a quarrel with this monarch, and no doubt the manor was given him, as a pension, to compensate him for having to retire. In the same king’s reign the abbot was granted a view of frankpledge in his manor of Cranfield, and in 1251 Henry Ш gave the abbot and convent a grant of free warren in all their demesne lands at Cranfield, and there seems to have been some doubt as to the validity of these grants, for the abbot was summoned to the Bedford Assizes in 1330 to show by what right he enjoyed these liberties. After hearing the case the court decided to take them back into the king’s hands and the abbot had to pay 40s. to have them regranted to him.

In1328 the manor was granted by the abbot to Sir William de Herle, Robert de Sachynton and Robert de Burgh, rector of Houghton, for a yearly rent of £100 of silver, the abbot on behalf of the monastery reserving the right of re-entry should the rent not be paid.. This grant also expressly states that the right of presentation to the church was to remain with the abbey.

During the 14th century various grants of land at Cranfield were made to the abbot. Thus Thomas de Newby gave 60 acres.

The abbots continued to hold the manor until the Dissolution, at which time its value was £68 9s. 4d. It then became Crown property, and in 1542 was attached to the honour of Amptill. In 1545 William Hutton was appointed to be the bailiff and collector of the manor.


The advowson of the church belonged to the Abbots of Ramsey, who were the lords of the manor of Cranfield, and after the right of patronage still continued to belong to the manor until the 18th century.

The earliest mention of the church is in the time of Abbot Walter (1133-60), when he granted it to Godfrey the priest, who paid 20s. yearly to the abbot for the repair of the service books at Ramsey. The next mention of the church is in 1178, when Pope Alexander Ш confirmed it to the abbey, Pope Gregory 1X doing the same in 1229, According to the Taxatio the value of the living was £20. The Valor shows the living to be worth £33 2s.

(Ref 28)